Back in August you may have noticed the large dredging bags placed off Ensley road off of 63rd Street in Mission Hills. They worked as a filter system by pumping water into the bag, capturing sediment – such as loose sand, clay, and silt – and then the clean water was pumped back into the pond basin. A build up of sediment in the pond had the potential to increase the risk of flooding and also could cause declines in the pond’s fish population. It took a total of 60 days to dredge Willow Lake to remove the pollutants.
Since the dredging, Heinen Landscape has been working hard to restore the pond’s plant-life and make it more ecologically friendly. Heinen’s landscaping pros planted a total of 2,000 plants around Willow Lake to create a natural stream-buffer. Buffers are important because their roots work to prevent erosion and the plants filter out pollutants from entering the water. Previous pollutants came from trash residue and fertilizer runoff washed into the water – causing an unhealthy increase in nitrogen and phosphorus levels. Heinen Landscape helped choose a variety of plants that bloom throughout the year such as Soft Rush, Arrowhead, Sea Oats, and Pickerel Weed. The plants were carefully chosen to help deter an excess of geese from gathering around Willow Lake and to filter excess nutrients before they enter the pond.
The pond is now in the process of refilling naturally and once full, Heinen will also reinstall the pond’s fountains. Two filtering systems, one off Tomahawk Road and one off Ensley Lane, were added to Willow Lake to filter out pollutants and to save cost on future dredging. The goal is to convert the pond back to a healthy environment also so the water that flows downstream from the pond is also healthy and clean.
Now that the lake is sediment and pollutant free it will give aquatic life a chance to thrive again. The Heinen team is looking forward to seeing the newly installed plants bloom in the spring!